The 2018 Electronic Entertainment Expo offered some promising new titles inspired by our favorite films and television shows when it hit the Los Angeles Convention Center June 12-14. Games based on movies and serialized TV are nothing new, but the genre has a history of pushing out products more focused on promoting an IP than offering a quality interactive experience.
That’s changing. Game developers, passionate about the same titles as the rest of us, are shelving the marketing-spun schlock in favor of crafting ambitious projects that put us in our favorite fictional worlds.
Here are 10 we can’t wait to play!
JURASSIC WORLD EVOLUTION
Developer: Frontier Developments Publisher: Frontier Developments Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: Available now
As fans of the Jurassic Park franchise films are well aware, the movies are primarily action-ratcheting affairs focused on dinos unleashing all kinds of hell on unsuspecting park-goers. Jurassic World Evolution, however, trades epic destruction for careful construction, as it tasks players with planning, building, managing, and monitoring their very own prehistoric theme park. While the game’s more of a cerebral stimulation, it’ll still spike your adrenaline when, say, your burgeoning management skills accidentally let a velociraptor loose in the food court.
LEGO THE INCREDIBLES
Developer: TT Games Publisher: Warner Bros. Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch Release Date: Available now
If seeing Incredibles 2 hasn’t completely satisfied your craving for the superhero family’s unique brand of crime-fighting fun, you may want to suit-up for LEGO The Incredibles. Brimming with block-y bad guys, brick-based puzzles, and the LEGO series’ signature personality and humor, this latest plastic toy-packed adventure lets fans relive the best moments from both entries in the popular Pixar franchise. Tons of playable characters – including fan-favorite Edna Mode – and special moves, requiring the entire Parr crew to participate, round out this family-friendly romp.
Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: Sony Systems: PlayStation 4 Release Date: September 7, 2018
Set in a sprawling, open-world New York City, this original Spider-Man tale – from veteran developer Insomniac Games – forgoes the origin story slog in favor of putting players behind the shooting webs, acrobatic combat, and wisecracking sense of humor of a more seasoned Spidey. An eye-popping visual presentation, adrenaline-spiking set pieces, fluid action, and more iconic villains than you can cram into Raft prison complement the cinematic wall-crawling, web-spinning action.
WORLD WAR Z
Developer: Saber Interactive Publisher: Paramount Pictures Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: 2018
Plenty of games task players with shooting zombies, scavenging for supplies, and generally doing whatever it takes to survive the undead apocalypse. World War Z – which borrows more from the Brad Pitt film than Max Brooks’ book – breaths some fresh life into the rotting corpse genre, however, by putting up to 500 flesh-eating freaks on screen simultaneously. Of course, these hungry hordes can also form horrifying zombie pyramids, making it more difficult for you and your co-op partners to fend them off and live another day.
SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER
Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Square Enix Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: September 14, 2018
Fans of the Tomb Raider films and games can expect to meet a very different Lara Croft in this trilogy-capping entry. More Predator than Indiana Jones, Shadow of the Tomb Raider sees a confident, capable, vengeance-craving Croft camouflaged in mud and employing brutal combat tactics to turn exotic jungle locales into goon graveyards. Though Shadow isn’t your typical relic-hunting romp, players can still expect seat-of-the-pants storytelling, cinematic set pieces, and, yes, plenty of tombs to raid.
LEGO DC SUPER-VILLAINS
Developer: TT Games Publisher: Warner Bros. Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC Release Date: October 16, 2018
TT Games has no less than three Batman-starring installments in their stable of brick-busting LEGO adventures, but their latest DC entry is taking a decidedly different approach to the iconic comic book universe. As its title suggests, LEGO DC Super-Villains is all about the bad guys, from Harley Quinn and Lex Luthor to Poison Ivy and the Crown Prince of Crime himself, the Joker. Rather than playing as these iconic foes though, players will join them as their very own, fully customizable and upgradeable evildoer.
OVERKILL’S THE WALKING DEAD
Developer: Overkill Software Publisher: Starbreeze Studios/505 Games Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: November 6, 2018
Hundreds of games have pitted players against hordes of foot-shuffling foes, and a handful of those have even unfolded in Robert Kirkman’s walker-infested world. Overkill’s The Walking Dead separates itself from the brain-craving bunch, however, by translating the unforgiving world of the comic books into thumb-blistering gameplay. For fans, this means strategically cooperating with three other players to not only survive brutally difficult encounters with the undead, but also joining forces to fight the game’s most challenging enemies, a human faction dubbed “The Family.”
Developer: IO Interactive Publisher: WBIE Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: November 13, 2018
We haven’t seen the bald, bar-coded assassin on the big screen since Rupert Friend wore his signature sharp suit and red tie in 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47. Fans needn’t wait for a film sequel to be reunited with their favorite hired killer, however, as Hitman 2 is headed to game consoles this fall. Assuming the role of the titular professional, stealthy players will travel to stunningly-realized exotic locales, don disguises, and incorporate improvised weapons – such as rat poison, frying pans, and frozen fish – to permanently silence high-level targets.
RESIDENT EVIL 2
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: January 25, 2019
Long before zombie shooters and apocalypse survival sims spread through the video game world like a population-wiping plague, players were fighting virally-infected canines and gobbling up green herbs in Resident Evil. Now, Capcom is inviting fans back to Raccoon City to relive what’s widely considered the seminal survival horror series’ best entry. More than a mere remaster though, Resident Evil 2 is a completely rebuilt re-imagining, featuring brand new visuals, audio, controls, and a nerve-fraying narrative to rival any contemporary take on the walking corpse genre.
KINGDOM HEARTS III
Developer: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One Release Date: January 29, 2019
The Kingdom Hearts series has always been defined by its appealing, if unlikely, mash-up of Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Its long-awaited sequel though, is doubling down on the Disney – and Pixar – content, inviting fans to explore worlds and interact with heroes and villains from a variety of favorite films from Walt’s vault. From Frozen, Tangled, and Toy Story to Hercules, Wreck-It Ralph, and Pirates of the Caribbean, this fan-servicing sequel has something for Disney and Pixar enthusiasts of all stripes.